Too many super-open maps in 1v1 pool

1 Really closed map (Arena)
1 Water map (Team Islands)
4 Open maps (Arabia, Runestones, Golden Pit, Land Madness)
1 Nomad open map (Land Nomad)

I know that we are supposed to vote for the maps we want, but the devs for some reason are keeping both Arabia and Runestones, which are basically the same map, fixed in the pool (not even in the options, they were both picked by devs, what even is the difference between them besides the relic in the middle?)

I don’t dislike open maps, I’m against infinite map bans, and I certainly don’t want every game to be Arena (Or worse, Fortress, thank god that’s out of the pool now) but playing open maps every time gets old, even if I ban 2 of them you still have 3 Open maps vs 1 closed map (I say 2 bans and not 3 because banning Team Islands is a must, since civs on water are extremely unbalanced in this game, but I already made a post about that a while ago and it’s beside the point here)

And they aren’t even semi-open maps, where you can wall relatively easily (like old Arabia) they are all really open maps, where you can still wall, but it will cost a lot more (especially since palisades and houses get nerfed more and more with each update)

TL/DR: We need less really open maps and more semi-open maps (like old arabia) in my opinion because having most maps be super open gets repetitive.


Runestones and Golden pits are semiclosed Maps where walling is meta, runestones is basically old arabia. In addition, land nomad is basically an FC map.

So it’s a fairly balanced map pool: 2 open, 2 semiclosed, 1 closed, 1 water, 1 nomad the only thing missing is hybrid


Have you played Runestones since the October patch? It was wallable before that, but the treelines were changed so it’s now just as open as Arabia, if not more. I haven’t heard anyone say they like that change, it would be nice if it could serve as a more balanced old Arabia option.

I’m not aware of a specific patch where golden pit was changed, but the maps I’ve gotten this week there have been difficult to wall as well. Could just be bad luck with forests, but it doesn’t really matter since you can’t turtle with only 6 tiles of gold. You’ll have to hold the middle, which is surrounded on all sides by hills, and not wallable.

We definitely have 4 open land maps in the pool right now, and it’s the most dull rotation I’ve ever experienced . At least throw in a mega random or something (not my favorite, but breaks the monotony since everyone seems to be banning nomad and islands to get more Arabia clones).


I agree that the current map pool is a bit dissatisfying given that people have three bans. However, it’s mostly due to the vote of the community:

  • It’s a pity that both land madness and golden pit made in through the poll but not hideout; it was extremely close, though.
  • A hybrid map is missing indeed, but unfortunately people did not want continental (which is pretty fun to play as both land and water-based strats are possible).

The only thing that could have been done better from the dev perspective is not to add Runestones to the permanent map pool. That’s a bit too similar to Arabia (yes, a bit more closed, a bit less hills, but still…).

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Well there were a lot of closed maps in the pool but not voted in (hideout somehow went out of top3 last minute). Also golden pitt is a semi closed map. Super easy to wall and go drish fc.

Unfortunately this is the future for the game. The removal of the last ounces of strategy is almost complete, the maps where there were multiple viable strategies before have been turned into a call of duty esque “box formation scout cavalry festival”. This fundamentally was a strategy game, and strategy requires more than one way of playing, not just all out aggression every game from the outset resulting in 15 minute matches. Any attempts to wall up and make the game last into the late game is almost impossible as walling up with palisades leaves you insurmountably behind. From the few times i’ve played recently it’s always the same story, opponent picks either Franks, Magyars, Mongols, Lithuanians, Huns. Poorly imitate the exact same build orders they’ve seen online / youtube, put their scouts into box formation and run them around your base. Dealing with that a few times in a row is enough to put you off for life, this afterall is a game and is supposed to be fun. I don’t think i’m the only person who feels this way as the player count of the game is certainly not in a favourable trend.


I don’t like map pool and map ban system. Remove map ban option if the map pool system go like this direction (as other people in this thread suggested). In the current system, 4-5 open map out of 7 and people who prefer open map can ban all other maps and people who have other preference are forced to play open map. Is it the purpose of map pool system?
It is actually opposite of encouraging to play diverse maps. Rather just forced to play what more people want.
Also 7 map in 1v1 pool is too small especially if it also contain 3-4 Similar maps. Increase 1v1 map pool to 9 just like TG map pool or at least 5 maps picked by devs serving really diverse playstyle and voting option reduce to 2.

Are you played Runestone after recent patch? It changed to just green terrain Arabia with center relic. The difference is just less hill. I feel woodline is even smaller than Arabia.
Also Golden Pit/Gold Rush was also changed to more open several patches ago. Depending on the generation, but it is not really semi-closed map.

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@MBL900 Thank you for expressing this concern so succinctly. Nerfing towers (HP and loss of Inca villager tech) and nerfing walling (wall cost, wall building time, house armor) are two examples of weakening strategies in favor of scout rush.

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Yes, I found the gold rush changes in these patch notes, it was made much more open. Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition — Update 50292 - Age of Empires

Have not tracked down when golden pit changed yet, but it sure seems to have gotten the same treatment.


I totally agree with the TO.
I don’t have a problem if there are a lot of very open maps in the pool.
But I am very dissapointed we don’t have any “versatile” map anymore.

That type of map Arabia used to be before the recent changes.

I don’t want to be told by the map what kind of strategies are viable, I want a map that allows me to use the whole strategic diversity of the game.


The problem is the fact they have turned Arabia / Runestones / Golden Pit into an extremely deserted maps, that wasn’t the case back in AOC times. They just need to bring back AOC Arabia.


Firstly, nomad is a seperate game-mode and doesn’t belong in the standard start ranked queue- it has random maps built for that game-mode, that’s all.

Secondly - the real difference between runestones and arabia is that runestones doesn’t have so many claustrophobicly close hills and you can actually tc your nearby woodlines and resources which opens non-aggressive strats.

Thirdly - golden pit is as far from arabia and runestones as islands is to four lakes.

Lastly - land madness is far from both arabia and runestones and is closer to a mix of socotra and maps with unwallable terrain. It’s as different as runestones is to arena.

As for why both arabia and runestones are in the same map pool(at this point I prefer runestones) is likely so the devs can get data as to which version the playerbase prefers and to see what arabia should be.

That might be. But this “study” could get a huge bias simply due to the fact that many players will favor Arabia just because it is called Arabia, out of habit.

From a bit wider perspective Arabia and Runestones are roughly as similar with respect to each other as Islands and Team Islands or as Baltic and Mediterranean. If these maps would appear as pairs in the map pool… well… I don’t want to imagine the reaction.

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As long as we’re rid of insta-ban game-modes such as nomad and megarandom(in its current non standard start state, needs to consistently have 1 tc, 3 vills +civ bonuses, 1 normal scout/eagle scout depending on civ)

Then I’d be perfectly fine with doubling up water maps, closed maps, open maps, etc. As long as the standard start is in all of them. Same thing for fortress, needs less vills at least when it’s a non-regicide game.

How is nomad a separate game mode? Does it follow different rules of how to win? No. Does it change the starting age, or techs researched? No.
The only difference is how you start.

Just because you view them that way doesn’t mean others do.

Nomad and megarandom literally have higher playrates then most maps do.

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What’s the defining factor that’s the same between maps like arabia, black forest, arena, islands, team islands, baltic, socotra and many more maps? It’s the standard start. Without it there is no foundation to base elo on.
These separate game-modes such as nomad and mega random require entirely different foundations to start from which most players don’t care to practice which is why they’re insta-ban modes and don’t properly reflect one’s actual elo in the same queue. If someone practices nomad often or even with general knowledge vs someone of the same elo who doesn’t it’ll become as if the one practiced in the separate game-mode is 100-200 elo higher.

To be fair, the difference between map and game mode is a bit blurred in AoE2. If I remember correctly, it was different in AoE1, where you could start any map also in the nomad mode.

I personally don’t mind nomad (especially the default nomad, which is a nice hybrid map), and I believe all nomad maps are much closer to RM than, let’s say, Empire Wars or Deathmatch game modes, but this is kind of subjective and I wouldn’t blame others to have a different take on that.


Yeah but aoe1 doesn’t hold a candle to aoe2. By this logic should we restrict pops to 50 since that’s what aoe1 does? How about no castles?

There’s a difference between having a different take and projecting your opinion as fact. I dont see an "I believe or I think or I’d like anywhere in HealFortress statement at all. He just flat out says it like his word is law.

Except rhey didnt have a standard start, as you put it. All those maps have different build orders associated with them. Black forest is going to be more wall and boom. Arena is fast cadtle play with monks. Islands opens with more water oriented play. The standard for those maps changes based on yhe map. Same with nomad.

Again this is you projecting. Many megarandom maps can have a standard opening because the differences are minimal. You could have more or less of some resources. But it’s still almost always going to be a tc, 3 workers and some form or scout.

It’s a far cry from what you see in empire wars or death match or what not.

If they were as different as you like to project they would have their own game mode.


Regardless of map contents and what build order you adapt into, the start should remain the same for the ranked 1 vs 1/team standard start/map queue.

You’re supposed to adapt based on surroundings, but what you start with should remain the same. The starting surrounding resources can be as variable as they wish to be. How open or closed the map is or surrounding water for that matter can be as random as it needs to be, but the standard start is a must for the queue. I’d argue that the second queue should be based on being more chaotic and ‘fun’ with game-modes such as nomad, death match, regicide(fortress should remain a regicide map), king of the hill, empire wars, CBA, and all that wonderful jaz - it would be cool to have such a queue on top of a ranked lobby system.

I would play mega random so much more if it had a standardized start alongside its variable fun chaos.

“Random map”

And one way to prove you can adapt is have maps with non standard starts. Which nomad and megarandom accomplish. And for all your disdain of them, (probably because it doesn’t fit in your neat orthodox style") both maps have higher playrates then anything that isn’t arena arabia and one or two other maps. So clearly I could say youre in the minority on your opinion. Heck team games fans play nomad 3rd most. Megarandom is 5th and knocking on black forest door. Despite blackforest being a permanent map. At higher skill levels they ate 3rd and 4th most played. With black forest being a noob only map.